When Bowery Electric released their self-titled debut a couple years back, it was a fairly standard (but slightly higher in quality than standard) drone/shoegazer disc. Although they sort of rocked out on one song, the main focus of the 9-song release was on swirling guitars and the beautiful vocals of Martha Schwendener. Although the changes are kind of subtle on Beat, they make a ton of difference, and in my opinion move the group onto another level.
Instead of going with the standard percussion on the disc (one member of the band left after the recording of their first disc), the now-duo turned to programmed beats (hence, the title most likely) and keyboards and in turn sound something like Seefeel with a bit of an extra kick. When I say that the group has turned to programmed beats, its not as if they've gone 120 BPM. Instead, they've found a nice middle ground that helps to give their songs that little extra something without being too overpowering. The album-titled first track starts out with almost a minute of downtime, but soon a repetitive loping beat (with even a bit of crackling static left in for good measure) starts in before Schwendener starts with her floating vocals. Over the course of 10 songs (including a couple nice instrumentals that act as sort of a glue holding everything together, the disc creates a dreamy, slight atmosphere with slow, subtle beats, swirling guitars, and light vocals.
While it isn't really anything new, it sort of feels like it. It's a nice integration of the spacey-rock stuff with a dab of electronic stuff thrown in for good measure. Fans of the 4AD label would probably gobble this sort of stuff up, as well as anyone who likes aforementioned Seefeel, Slowdive, or Windy and Carl. A great follow-up disc by a relatively new band.